3D printing technology has become a preferred method for DIY persons, however, the model post-processing to remove layers, the bonding between different parts, painting and so on stay a challenge. A few weeks ago, we noticed an amazing Halo cosplay on social media, the costume was 3d printed using PolyLite™ PLA. This amazing work was done by Alpha to Zeta Industries, and we were very excited to contact them and ask if they would like to share their professional experience with us. We were glad to hear back from Anthony from Alpha to Zeta Industries, they kindly explained all the manufacturing process to achieve such results and were also happy to share it with our community.
If you are interested in cosplays or have challenges building your costumes, you can reach them on social media: Facebook or Instagram. If you are interested in Halo cosplay, you can also visit their group of Halo cosplayers on 405th.com. They have a lot of knowledge to share and are happy to assist new members.
Here is the reply from Anthony explaining how he post-processed his costume:
Thank you for reaching out to us about working with Polylite PLA. We are big fans of the video game franchise Halo. And for about 3 years now we have been creating costumes from that franchise under our page, Alpha to Zeta Industries (on Instagram and Facebook). Our primary tool to create these costumes is our 3D printer, our Lulzbot Taz 6. Just recently we created a new version of our Spartan Recluse suit using Polylite PLA. To create this suit, we started with files from Halo 5 Guardians. From there we extensively reworked the models for 3D printing and added details. Once we were ready to print, we selected Polylite PLA due to the positive results we have had with it in the past. To describe the process, I will talk you through how we finished the chest armor. Picture 1 (Attached) is a picture of the raw 3D print fresh off the printer and assembled.
The first problem that we tackled was hiding the seams. This is accomplished by filling each seam with a mixture of baby powder and super glue (CA). Once the seam is filled, an accelerant is added to solidify the bond. We then sand down these seams to make the area flush. Picture 2 (Attached) shows the seams after they have been filled. And Picture 3 (attached) shows them after they have been sanded down.
We then cover the whole piece with a product from Smooth-On called XTC3D. This is a two-part epoxy that fills a large amount of the layer lines while also adding a degree of strength. Once the epoxy has cured, we begin the extensive process of sanding. This process is three parts. First, we apply Bondo spot putty to the piece in any areas that need filling. Once it is dry, we sand the piece down with a high to medium grit sandpaper. Then, lastly, we apply filler primer to the whole piece. This process is repeated until the piece is smoothed to our satisfaction. Picture 4 (Attached) shows the piece after one of the rounds of filler primer.
Once the print lines and any other imperfections are filled to our liking, we then wet sand the whole piece up to 1500 grit sandpaper. This ensures an extremely smooth surface. Once wet sanding is complete the fun really begins. Time for color. We first put down a metallic base coat on the piece. This base coat is then covered with a clear coat. This way when the main color is scrapped off the metal will show for a desired ‘weathered’ look. Picture 5 (Attached) is the piece with the basecoat applied.
After this has dried completely, we then apply the base color and any other desired details. The final result is the piece ready for cosplay! Picture 6 (attached) shows the completed piece.
It can be a process. But our goal is to garner the smoothest finish possible on our costumes and this process has worked great for us so far. The base print quality afforded by Polylite PLA definitely makes it easier than it has been in the past. To close, if anyone is interested in costuming or if there are any questions please feel free to message us on our social media channels. Lastly, if you are interested in Halo cosplay specifically checkout the 405th.com. The 405th is a group of Halo cosplayers who have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to be of service to new members.
Alpha to Zeta Industries